[EDITORIALS]Stop Bickering and Deal With Japan

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[EDITORIALS]Stop Bickering and Deal With Japan

Amid heightened tension over the Japanese government's refusal to revise the right-wing history textbooks and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's upcoming visit to Yasukuni shrine where Japanese war criminals are buried, the National Assembly decided to adopt a resolution condemning Japan. But the meeting to discuss the resolution was cancelled even before lawmakers could review a draft. On the very day that lawmakers from both parties reached a "laudable" agreement to cooperate on the issue, the Assembly's Unification, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee failed to convene after a dispute over a trivial procedural matter. The adoption of the resolution has now been postponed to Wednesday.

The Korean people are outraged at the Japanese government's refusal to consider our rational and polite request to rewrite the distorted history textbooks. Accordingly, the government has taken a series of strong measures. If the National Assembly is truly an institution representing the people, it is its responsibility to convey the solemn resolve of the Korean people to the Japanese government. Is this not why the lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agreed to adopt a resolution condemning Japan in the first place? The committee's failure to convene and the subsequent quarrel over who was responsible for the cancellation of the meeting are shameful.

Some people in Japan believe South Korea's stiff position is intended to placate the public and that the actions will soon subside. A basic political principle dictates that both ruling and opposition lawmakers should cooperate on a foreign policy matter with national interest at stake even as they fight over domestic matters. This principle applies in this case in which Japan appears intent on repeating its bid to crush our national spirit, as they tried early in the last century.

Events like the committee's failure to convene encourage people to say the National Assembly is useless or it is more disruptive than constructive in managing the nation. The ruling and opposition lawmakers should immediately adopt a resolution and convey our stance to the Japanese. Stop the bickering and devote yourselves to national interests.
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